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March 18, 1983 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Fridly,Mapp 18, 1983 1
oTP Pf111011 JEWISH IlfWS
Wedding, Rehearsal and Ceremony Assistance



Greenfield's Temple' Novel Evokes Memories of Youth


Nostalgic memories of my
childhood in Brooklyn were
relived upon reading "Tem-
ple" by Robert Greenfield
(Summit Books). The
author's descriptions of
rituals and prayers both
outside of and in the Or-
thodox Temple Ahavath
Mizrach are wonderful. -
I could actually hear the
sing-song droning of
prayers not chanted for un-
ison and smelfthe pungent
odors of bad breath, un-
washed bodies . and urine
that the overcrowded con-
gregation of Yom Kippur
day brought forth.
It was like coming home
t,o read so many Jewish
words and expressions
- (translated into English for
the uninitiated). Although
enjoyable, it hindered me
from immersing myself in
the characters and plot of
the book.
Mr. Greenfield is very
knowledgeable of the
forms and customs fol-
lowed by the Orthodox.
One must suspect he
learned them at the knee
of a grandfather much
like Mendel Bindel, one
of the main characters in
his book. Unfortunately,
his characters become
caricatures. Each one is
drawn larger than life.
The hero, Paulie Bindel,
embodies all the char-
acteristics supposedly found
in the American Jewish
youth of today. A bright
young man,_ Paulie drops
out of Harvard after three
year's of schooling to "find


himself." When thinigo
wrong for him at his
bookstore job and with his
promiscuous girlfriend,
Paulie goes home. Home for
Paulieis a sagging couch in
his father's apartment. (His
mother and father are di-
vorced). His father survives
one day at a time with his
job as a postal clerk, eve-
nings of television and a col-
lection of stamps that will
be Paulie's inheritance.

with the Greenwich Village
crowd and the antics of the
• post office employees are
truly comic.
Paulie discovers that he

can't go homeagain. He will
have to draw on his back-
ground and his own re-
sources to find meaning for
his life.

Sharon Padzensky


.....•1• ■•■■••••

Paulie's mother, Esther,
finds sustenance for her life
in Tony's Beauty Salon,
preparing meals for her
father-in-law and her job in
the temple.
The characters who
people the temple, includ-
ing the rabbi, are depicted
as gross, insensitive, grasp-
ing money-worshipers. it is
a one-dimensional view and
the author is guilty of what
so many before him have
done; he has stereotyped an
entire group of people.
It is in the character of
Mendel Bindel, Paulie's
grandfather, and the at
mosphere of the Or-
thodox temple, where
Mendel prays and lives
his days of old age, that
Mr. Greenfield rings true.
Paulie has a special bond
with his grandfather, but
Mendel's faith comes
from his own harrowing
experience in .a concen-
tration camp and he can-
not import it to Paulie.
Some scenes of Paulie's
escapades are hilarious; his
date at a Janies Brown con-
cert in Harlem, a party

We Do


We Owe it to Our Children,
This Heritage - Ours alone -
We owe them, knowledge of our background,
- So ignorance, we needn't condone.

We need to swell on the beauty of life
And the gains that are moral and good -
With such, in the forefront, a picture takes change
And fine living is more understood.

We owe it to our children,
To practice what we preach -
So we -can live in Unity -
And gain, from what we teach.

With foresight, we can look ahead
And plant strong roots,, that grow -
With guidance and fulfilment,
Our Children's future will prosper and glow.


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